|Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “beauty is God’s handwriting,” and that “a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” In my experience, with beauty comes hope, love, peace, and connection to God. For me personally, it is often difficult for me to connect with others if I do not first have these other valuable things in my life.
In the past few months, this outpouring of creativity has also been born from a desire for freedom. My life within Mission Year is restricted and not at all autonomous. I have been stripped of any authority over my time, my relationships, my money. I’m being stripped of my gifts, my abilities, and my knowledge by rendering all that useless by the complete disregard of anything and almost everything I have come to regard as something that makes me me.
One day, I walked over to our church to see if it was open in hopes that I could practice some piano. After walking the six blocks or so, I found it was locked and so turned right back around to go back home. On my way home, some neighbors were hanging out on their front porch and one of my friends on the porch called out, asking where I went. I told him that I was hoping to play piano, but with no luck. Teasing, he joked that I would have to forget piano and “get myself a bucket” to drum on, like the buskers that abound on street corners, because “you livin’ in the ‘Wood’ now.” A woman who was on the porch with him whom I had never met before looked annoyed at my friend and cut him off to tell me otherwise. “Don’t you listen to him, babygirl! You keep playing your piano music, and play it beautifully! Be a light of beauty to the world, we need more of that!” I continued home with more of a spring in my step.
Within the centering of creativity, I have been able to, on some level, return to feeling “myself”. Even if it’s just for the few fleeting minutes that I am actively and freely engaging in playing piano, learning Spanish or English, writing creatively, or trying to draw. In the return to feeling like I am myself again, I also find that these are the all-too-brief moments where I feel truly connected to God once again.